Pronunciation: (pinch), [key]
1. to squeeze or compress between the finger and thumb, the teeth, the jaws of an instrument, or the like.
2. to constrict or squeeze painfully, as a tight shoe does.
3. to cramp within narrow bounds or quarters: The crowd pinched him into a corner.
4. to render (the face, body, etc.) unnaturally constricted or drawn, as pain or distress does: Years of hardship had pinched her countenance beyond recognition.
5. Hort.to remove or shorten (buds or shoots) in order to produce a certain shape of the plant, improve the quality of the bloom or fruit, or increase the development of buds (often fol. by out, off, or back).
6. to affect with sharp discomfort or distress, as cold, hunger, or need does.
7. to straiten in means or circumstances: The depression pinched them.
8. to stint (a person, family, etc.) in allowance of money, food, or the like: They were severely pinched by the drought.
9. to hamper or inconvenience by the lack of something specified: The builders were pinched by the shortage of good lumber.
10. to stint the supply or amount of (a thing).
11. to put a pinch or small quantity of (a powder, spice, etc.) into something.
a. to steal.
b. to arrest.
13. to roll or slide (a heavy object) with leverage from a pinch bar.
14. Naut.to sail (a ship) so close to the wind that the sails shake slightly and the speed is reduced.
15. Horse Racing, Brit.to press (a horse) to the point of exhaustion.
1. to exert a sharp or painful constricting force: This shoe pinches.
2. to cause sharp discomfort or distress: Their stomachs were pinched with hunger.
3. to economize unduly; stint oneself: They pinched and scraped for years to save money for a car.
4. Mining.(of a vein of ore or the like)
a. to diminish.
b. to diminish to nothing (sometimes fol. by out).
5. Naut.to trim a sail too flat when sailing to windward.
6. pinch pennies, to stint on or be frugal or economical with expenditures; economize: I'll have to pinch pennies if I'm going to get through school.
1. the act of pinching; nip; squeeze.
2. as much of anything as can be taken up between the finger and thumb: a pinch of salt.
3. a very small quantity of anything: a pinch of pungent wit.
4. sharp or painful stress, as of hunger, need, or any trying circumstances: the pinch of conscience; to feel the pinch of poverty.
5. a situation or time of special stress, esp. an emergency: A friend is someone who will stand by you in a pinch.
6. See pinch bar.
7. Slang.a raid or an arrest.
8. Slang.a theft.
9. with a pinch of salt. See grain (def. 22).
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.